I got the "small airplanes are so dangerous talk today"...

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by imwithtuxedo, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    "Yes, it's more dangerous.
    However we accept the additional risk.
    Some people do not; I understand that.
    (enjoy your boring life, lol.)"
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
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  2. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Line Up and Wait

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    A hang gliding site I used to fly a lot in Massachusetts was also popular with motorcyclists. I was always amused by the motorcyclists asking me why I did such a crazy thing. The best question I got was from an MC rider who asked "How many times have you died? "
    Not trying to play the which is more dangerous game, just thought it was funny.
     
  3. Rushie

    Rushie Pattern Altitude

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    Not Chemcheek but maybe he is referring to not letting yourself get behind conditions. Planning and filing IFR if you think you might run into IMC is safer IMO than starting out VFR and relying on "pop up IFR" if you need to. Nothing wrong with pop up for the truly unexpected, but it's the meticulous planning and foresight that makes you safer, not that being IFR will improve actual weather conditions.
     
  4. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    My sister often gives me this spiel.. she's an ER doctor and recently had one of the fatalities from a crash we discussed here on PoA show up in her ER.. it was fairly traumatic to her

    Yeah yeah, cars and all that.. stats will say that the type of flying "we" do is less safe than driving, on par with motorcycles.. but those stats are heavily skewed by stupid (yes, sorry I said it, but STUPID) pilot tricks like taking off overloaded.. into blinding fog/weather.. showing off to friends.. obviously poor situational awareness.. etc. Some of us are more at risk to those factors than others, and everyone likes to think they're above average and above the curve. Fact of the matter is, unless you're in a Piper wings don't fall of planes and when flown CORRECTLY flying is extremely safe

    But whatever.. you can't really convince these people.. just appreciate the concern and care. Also, as much as I hate to say it, the "chute" argument works with people like that, it speaks to people's primitive and uneducated opinions on travel better than stats and the "yeah but I'm safer than that guy because X"

    PS - the PC12 crash is going to stack the cards against us as far as GA being "safe" .. but how many of us would do the same? On paper that guy was probably "safer" than many of us here.. but he did something I wouldn't do.. starting with not flying on Sunday. But accidents like that, and the Cirrus that drilled into a mountain flying 4 THOUSAND feet below the minimum safe VFR altitude for the region make us all look more dangerous

    We are only as safe as our individual ADM
     
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  5. jbarrass

    jbarrass Line Up and Wait

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    About 15 years ago, AVEMCO offered a 10% discount for policyholders to watch a video on risk management. It was presented by the King's and still available. I watched it and thought it was well done given the unknowns.

    As an insurance with their money at risk, they have no incentive to downplay the risk. They explained their analytical model, and while it is still somewhat of an apple/orange comparison given a very different risk model, it showed where they put their money which gives it some credibility in my mind.

    Their conclusion was that it was indeed riskier than a car, it was very comparable to motorcycle fatalities whether measured per exposure, or mileage, or time. Whether that qualifies as "much" riskier or if the "Pool" risk reflects an individual's risk is an individual perspective thing.
     
  6. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I can see those two as different types, and oddly enough, they are comparable to the differences between my brother and me in types of women.
     
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  7. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    My dad was a California Highway Patrolman. When I was growing up there was always the latest edition of the CHP magazine on the coffee table at home. Flip through any issue and you'd see a half dozen highway crash scene photos, complete with bodies hanging out the windows. It affected the way I drive, even to this day.

    For forty years my law practice mainly involved auto accident cases; so yeah, I came to know many hundreds of people badly hurt or killed in car crashes. In the vast majority of those, no amount of care on their own part could have prevented the crash. On the highway we are only as safe as the most impaired, least cautious or least skillful driver sharing the road with us will allow us to be.

    All that to explain why I feel a sense of relief when I turn the corner and arrive at the airport.

    Y'know the old canard about the most dangerous part of any flight is the drive home from the airport? Well, the only automobile collision I've ever been in was on the way home from dropping off my airplane for its annual.
     
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  8. wilkersk

    wilkersk Cleared for Takeoff

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  9. imwithtuxedo

    imwithtuxedo Pre-Flight

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    I agree with what everyone here has said. However, I don't remember the last time I read an article about a family of four dying in a PIper Lance because a 16 year old boy blew a stop light and T-boned them. The overwhelming majority of GA plane crashes are due to pilot error due to weather, skill level in aircraft, or simple negligence. Those are things in my control, just like when I drive my car.

    When I'm flying, I have almost zero chance that some dipshit is going to T-bone me midair. I have almost zero chance (assuming I don't fly into icing or thunderstorms) that the plane is going to suffer some catastrophic mid-air break up. I have almost zero chance that someone is going to rear-end me at 45mph while I sitting at a stop light because they were looking at their phone/gps.

    As pilots, we abide by the rules. Altitudes, patterns, IFR/VFR, and pilot and plane limitations which we all know before we fly. If we as pilots break the rules or exceed our limitations, our chance of dying goes up dramatically. If we are safe, try our best to not make mistakes, and "stay in our lane" when it comes to skill and proficiency, it is undeniably safer to fly than get in a car.
     
  10. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My theory is that people are more likely to take risks like that if they think that "the most dangerous part of the flight is the drive to the airport," because that kind of thinking may promote complacency about flight safety. This is a big reason why I think it's important to be aware of the comparative statistics, imperfect though they may be. I look at them as motivating me to be conscientious in my preflight planning, go/no-go decisions, and inflight-risk management.
     
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  11. imwithtuxedo

    imwithtuxedo Pre-Flight

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    I also do PI work and I've seen some horrific accident scene photos. I've used a variation of your line by saying every time you get in a car, you put your life in the hands of someone else.
     
  12. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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  13. edo2000

    edo2000 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I usually ride my motorcycle to my hangar to go flying. :) I truly enjoy both activities and would really hate to give them up. But, I do worry about inattentive drivers squashing me like a bug when on my motorcycle, and I would worry more if I lived in a more populated area( the nearest town of any size is 200 miles away).

    As others have said, all we can do is give our best efforts to riding and flying safely, especially if we fly passengers. Meticulous maintenance/preflights and rational, conservative flight planning and decision making goes a long way in risk reduction imo.

    Staying on the couch with the doors locked isn't acceptable for most of us here. :)
     
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  14. Arnold

    Arnold Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I agree. "Mom, Grandma, I know you are worried and I understand. Please know that I will be as safe as I possibly can be so that I get to see you again. I love you."
     
  15. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    That’s a really good point. Growing up, loving flying, I’ve never even understood folks that don’t look out the window on a commercial flight. Same people might be on a mountaintop, hilltop, tall building and admire the hell out of the view, totally ignore what’s right outside the window.
    And the feeling of actually controlling an airplane.
    I didn’t start training until into my 60s still as student pilot. but have always loved planes and flying.

    so it’s back to risk vs. Reward, many don’t know the reward, and might get the big if they flew in a small plane, others never will see it as worth the risk.
     
  16. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    Even there you can drive defensively. Ice in the roads, watch your rear view mirror be ready to get out of the line on to the shoulder. Where could I get out of the path of that car suddenly veers (if there is a way out), etc.

    A good defensive driver has better odds than one that think “driving is easy” and is not paying attention. Sure, either one can still get in a situation where there is no good outcome, but the odds are in favor of the one driving defensively in situations where one can control the outcome.

    I once was driving in a mountainous road in Spain, with my friend, his wife and mine, and as I came to a sharp turn a bus came from the other direction around the corner. I timed it perfectly, stopping wasn’t an option because the bus wasn’t stopping, so I entered the turn (while this in the car cried out) and managed to get to the halfway part of the bus in time to drive through the opening the tail of the bus was starting to make.
    My buddy in the back seat was amazed, but I’ve been with him in a car where he drove the wrong way on a large roundabout in holland (four lamer roundabout), he doesn’t think driving takes concentration. Still, even he hasn’t gotten in a serious accident.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  17. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    Filing IFR will not change the weather. (That's a separate issue.) VFR into IMC incidents can happen when pilots stubbornly try to maintain VFR in marginal or deteriorating conditions for whatever reason (convenience, poor planning, not IFR current or rated, etc.) when the weather might have been perfectly flyable and safe on an IFR flight plan.
     
  18. JohnAJohnson

    JohnAJohnson Cleared for Takeoff

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    The measurement certainly matters. Per mile, the safest form of travel would be spacecraft (Mercury, Apollo, Shuttle, etc.), hauling the mail at 17,000 miles per hour. But it is the most dangerous form of travel if looking at deaths/hour.
     
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  19. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    @wanttaja can you post your chart with GA fatalities by cause? It would help make this thread more data-driven.
     
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  20. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    “AP: Well I'd like to die like my grandpa, in his sleep.” ... and not like all those passengers in his airplane screaming and crying!
     
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  21. Bill Greenwood

    Bill Greenwood Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Bob, you have really hit on a point. Most people nowadays get on a plane an immediately start looking at the gadget in their hands. The can be over the lakes around Austin or the beautiful mountains of Colorado and for all they care they might as well be in a submarine.
    I flew 12 hours back from Turkey and I didn't have a window seat, so it was about like being kidnapped and in the basement. I think it is fascinating to sightsee myself.
     
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  22. imwithtuxedo

    imwithtuxedo Pre-Flight

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    Driving defensively is a myth based upon ego, because you think you're smarter and safer than the other drivers. Yeah, it might have "saved" you from that accident one time but on the whole, most horrific and deadly car accidents happen so fast that there is nothing that can be done. If someone blows a red light and you're going through the intersection, you ain't avoiding the crash. Also, if you're sitting at a light and you're the third car in line, you really think watching your rear view mirror is gonna give you enough time to get out of the way once you realize the danger? I tend to disagree having seen expert crash reconstructs on reaction times, stopping distances, and recognition and appreciation of the danger.
     
  23. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer En-Route

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    The ISS probably tops that list!
     
  24. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    somehow it always reminds me of blasé teens, on a beautiful sunny day complaining “there is nothing to do”.
    I also get strange looks when on a flight (like you, when I’m not at window) looking for the limited view both left and right. Worst when they pull down the shade.
     
  25. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    I'm not sure why people like sitting in a dark tube for hours without any natural light. It's bonkers.
     
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  26. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    That is ridiculous. Really. I’m amazed you think there is nothing one can do.

    You can look look left and right going through a green light instead of straight ahead, oblivious.

    I actually have, as a kid I chicago been at a red light, winter, few cars in front of me, seeing in my rear view a car that did not have time to stop, I drove off on the shoulder (he was still a ways behind and already skidding) and as I neared the car in front of me and got a look from that driver, he got hit. It’s why I mentioned it. It happened. Car did take a long time, it was very icy. Since I had trouble stopping, I was aware of it and checking for exactly that situation.

    I’ve learned to not believe turn signals, and watch for the telltale dip of a cars hood if it veers.

    you also have many accidents per year in snow, ice, fog, all because a driver was driving too fast for conditions. Being a defensive driver also means taking that into consideration. Slowing down or even pulling over if too bad. So it isn’t ego, it’s situational awareness.

    I watch how other cars are behaving...if I see a car veering, or uneven speed, etc. I stay away from it, either keeping behind, or quickly as possible passing it while watching in case it veers. I prefer being behind though.

    I’m not perfect or immune, but you can call it ego if you want, kinda silly but ok, I know I’m a better more defensive driver than some other people, and yeah, that CAN mean the difference.

    You seem to advocate being slack, since it makes “no difference”. I mentioned already, there are of course instances where no matter what you are going to be in an accident, of course, but it’s really dumb to pretend nobody gets out of accidents because they are paying attention and driving defensively.

    And certainly, I’m not always doing it, but way more than not.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  27. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    So back when I was flying back-n-forth to work...to Cleveland, Dallas, SE Georgia, S. Dakota, etc...my flying was about 8 times as dangerous as if I would have driven.

    Considering that I could fly to Cleveland in 3 hours...and it was a HARD 9 hr drive (and that was IF I made it thru STL, IND, DAY and CMH unscathed, which was rare)...seems like a reasonable risk/reward.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  28. imwithtuxedo

    imwithtuxedo Pre-Flight

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    Bob, calm down. I'm all for defensive driving. I do it myself. I do it while riding my bicycle. I do it while riding my Vespa. Does it help, sure. Will it save your life if someone blows a stop sign at 45mph, no. To think that you can avoid all mishaps and crashes while driving is just plain wrong. These types of accidents don't happen in aviation, that's all I'm saying. I was not personally attacking your ability to be a defensive driver, just pointing out the obvious that even if you were the safest of the safest safety drivers in the world, you could still get t-boned or rear ended at 45+mph.
     
  29. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    it’s fine, but still I disagree. When you drive through an intersection you either see no cars anywhere near, cars stopped, or cars still coming. Judging if a car is slowing down or not should be doable. Not every intersection.
    But Ive already written twice that nobody is saying you can avoid all mishaps and crashes. You can avoid more than the unaware driver. Defensive driving works, better than not.
    And don’t these happen in aviation? Really? Have no airplanes ever crashed while taxiing? Mid air collisions? Isn’t it the same thing? Pilots prize situational awareness, which includes also watching for other planes, recognizing situations that are getting critical. Incursions on the runway, I don’t see as different than t boning by another car. Just more other cars than other airplanes usually. More unaware drivers than negligent pilots.
    The bar is higher for pilots, the testing, and learning. Were cool, Would love if you stopped pretending anyone is saying defensive driving will prevent all accidents, not saying that. But I do feel it more of a defense than you feel.
     
  30. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    Michael Schumacher. Spent most of his life racing F1 cars and it was skiing with his family that put him in a vegetative state.
     
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  31. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    My focus is homebuilts; I don't have data for GA in general. I do analyze particular aircraft as a comparison to EAB.

    I dug up an old spreadsheet...this shows the distribution of accident causes for fatal Cessna 172 accidents from 1998 through 2015.
    [​IMG]
    Edit: Don't know what it is, the graphic shows up in the editor but not in the actual post. Here's the data in table form. Again, these are all fatal accidents.

    _______________________________________|_Instances_|_Percentage_|
    ____________Pilot Miscontrol___________|_____79____|____25.2%___|
    _____________Builder Error_____________|_____1_____|____0.3%____|
    ___________Maintenance Error___________|_____4_____|____1.3%____|
    _______Undetermined Loss of Power______|_____7_____|____2.2%____|
    ___________Engine Mechanical___________|_____4_____|____1.3%____|
    ____________Exhaust or Turbo___________|_____0_____|____0.0%____|
    _Engine Controller/Electronic Ignition_|_____0_____|____0.0%____|
    ______________Fuel System______________|_____1_____|____0.3%____|
    __________Landing Gear/Brakes__________|_____0_____|____0.0%____|
    ____________Other Mechanical___________|_____2_____|____0.6%____|
    ____________Fuel Exhaustion____________|_____6_____|____1.9%____|
    ____________Fuel Starvation____________|_____0_____|____0.0%____|
    ________________Carb Ice_______________|_____0_____|____0.0%____|
    ______________CG or Weight_____________|_____0_____|____0.0%____|
    _______________VFR to IFR______________|_____44____|____14.0%___|
    _____________Disorientation____________|_____16____|____5.1%____|
    _________Manuevering at low alt________|_____36____|____11.5%___|
    __________Inadequate Preflight_________|_____1_____|____0.3%____|
    ___________Fuel Contamination__________|_____1_____|____0.3%____|
    ____________Midair Collision___________|_____53____|____16.9%___|
    ____________Turbulence/Winds___________|_____1_____|____0.3%____|
    _______Loss of Control (Unknown)_______|_____9_____|____2.9%____|
    _____________Taxi Accident_____________|_____0_____|____0.0%____|
    _____________Airframe Icing____________|_____0_____|____0.0%____|
    ______________Undetermined_____________|_____14____|____4.5%____|
    _________________Other_________________|_____35____|____11.1%___|

    (POA Admins, please enable the Xenforo table functions....)

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  32. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm surprised the midair numbers are so high.
     
  33. Sierra_Hotel

    Sierra_Hotel Pre-Flight

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    Spot on for me. I road raced for a number of years while I wasn't flying. Now that I'm back to flying, I probably won't be racing for a while as my brother and I explore aircraft ownership options. At some point, I'll get back to racing as well. I'm not sure I'd be fit to be around if I couldn't do either activity.
     
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  34. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    Half (26) are listed as during instruction.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  35. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Considering the amount of conversation that goes on during instruction, I can see how that could happen.
     
  36. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    Previous flight school operating out of my uncontrolled airport would shut their radios off. Too distracting.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  37. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    If planes crash so much then why are there so many 30-50 year old planes still flying?

    But seriously if you take into account all of the dangerous activities, products, practices, etc that I do I'm dead already and this is the afterlife... so I guess I'll just do what I want and not worry about it.
     
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  38. Rushie

    Rushie Pattern Altitude

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    That’s the first thing I thought!

    Once back when I was a whippersnapper taking lessons at RDU - can’t remember if it was a class C yet or still a TCA. Anyhoo we were definitely supposed to be in radio contact with the tower at all times. We were doing touch and goes on the main runway. (Back then it was but one main runway.) So my CFI is trying to tell me stuff and he gets annoyed at the ATC chatter. We didn’t have headsets of course, there was an overhead speaker. So he reaches up and turns the volume all the way down, just til he could finish his thought.

    Well he forgot to turn it back up. We are merrily going round the pattern, do a few more T&Gs while he instructs and instructs, then suddenly he remembers to turn the volume back up, the controller is yelling at him. I got to hear him get royally chewed out. I don’t know what kind of delays or holds we caused, and I don’t know if he got into any kind of trouble for that.
     
  39. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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  40. RingLaserGyroSandwich

    RingLaserGyroSandwich Pre-Flight

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    RingLaserGyroSandwich
    I won't disagree that deaths per hour isn't useless here, but let's take your example to the extreme. I have a spaceship capable of crossing the universe in a mere second. The odds it fatally crashes by the end of 1 second is 50%. On a per hour basis, that thing is more dangerous than a gas leak in a furnace. However, I could ride that ship around the world thousands of times, over the course of 50 years, at faster than the speed of light with virtually no risk. The much more useful measure of risk in that case is the per mile risk, not the per hour risk. On the other hand, if I try to do laps around the whole universe, inside of a few seconds I'll be dead, so it's probably good to understand the per hour risk as well.